Celtics

Stevens details challenges of transitioning from coach to GM

Celtics

Brad Stevens had zero front-office experience when he replaced Danny Ainge as the Boston Celtics' president of basketball operations in June.

But that didn't stop Stevens from diving in headfirst: The new C's executive already has hired a new head coach in Ime Udoka, traded away his starting point guard in Kemba Walker, overhauled Boston's supporting cast by acquiring Al Horford, Josh Richardson, Kris Dunn, Bruno Fernando, Enes Kanter and Dennis Schroder, and inked Marcus Smart and Robert Williams to contract extensions.

During an interview Tuesday with WEEI's "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria," Stevens said he's "had a lot of fun" in his new front office role after eight seasons as Celtics head coach.

What is the Celtics' identity? Stevens lays out clear vision

"One thing I've always enjoyed about not only coaching but being a part of a team or organization is putting the puzzle together," Stevens said.

"Making sure that we do our best to put people in position to have success ... maybe find people that we think have unique strengths that for whatever reason the narratives have gotten so strong that maybe people don't see them anymore or look past them. So, this is a great opportunity to do that."

Still, the new role hasn't come without stress for Stevens, who admitted there was "a lot of angst" during his first month on the job as he dealt with the business side of roster management.

 

"It's been a great challenge. The first couple weeks were like drinking out of a fire hose, and then it slowed down after hiring Ime," Stevens said. "And then right before the draft and free agency, right back to it.

"The salary cap is no joke, and as much as I've been around it for the past eight years, I'm really lucky I have the people that are working here: The Mike Zarrens, the Austin Ainges and everybody else in our front office that does such a great job, that I can lean on for any question I didn't have the answer to."

Zarren and Ainge, whose titles are assistant general manager and director of player personnel, respectively, are holdovers of Danny Ainge's staff and have a wealth of front-office experience.

Stevens apparently has relied on that experience with positive results to date: The Celtics have built out a new roster while staying under the salary cap and maintaining financial flexibility for the 2022 offseason.